August 22, 2019 at 07:50 pm
Darwin G. Amojelar
Emirates Airlines is pushing for fresh air talks between the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates to increase its capacity to serve the rising demand from overseas Filipino workers and tourists.
“We have been requesting to resume air services talks between the UAE and the Philippines. We are awaiting confirmation on that and once that happens, then we hope some positive actions will come out of that. We’re hoping that will happen soon,” Emirates country manager Satish Seth told reporters.
“Our immediate request is for more frequencies. Our loads are pretty high. Our seat factor is running in mid-90s year-round average, which leaves little room for growth and little room for more travelers to choose us,” he said.
Sethi said he was hopeful that the Philippines and UAE would hold the air talks this year.
“When there are more flights, there is more connectivity, more trade, more cargo, more tourists into the Philippines and give more options to the OFWs living not only in Dubai but also across our network,” he said.
Emirates, which started flying to Manila in 1990, operates 18 flights a week.
“We have initially requested for at least three more flight a week to be added. We would like to move to 21 [flights per week] to start with,” Sethi said.
Emirates carried nine million passengers in the past 20 years and one million passengers in 2018.
Government data showed there were more than 700,000 Filipinos working in the UAE. Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific also fly to Dubai from Manila.
Sethi said that Emirates was in talks with the Philippine government for its plan to use its Airbus A380 at Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
“At this point, we are in the very early stages of that discussion. We actually proposed that we send our technical team to sit together with the Civil Aviation Authority’s technical team and study this and see what needs to be done,” he said.
“Once that report comes out, then we will be able to know the next steps. We are sincerely hoping that we’ll be having technical discussions between the two technical teams soon. We recently had a meeting with the CAB officials and also Transport Secretary [Arthur] Tugade. They were very kind and understanding of the situation. They all understand how important it will be for NAIA to have an Airbus 380 and they are open to having those two technical teams meet,” Sethi said.